Georgetown tops UConn in double-overtime thriller
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 00:02
STORRS – Junior forward Niels Giffey hit one of two free throws to give the UConn men’s basketball team a 78-71 lead with 2:03 left in double overtime. Sold-out Gampel Pavilion was thunderously loud and everybody in attendance was on their feet, screaming and shouting in elation.
And then, in what felt like an instant, the UConn faithful walked away, deflated in defeat.
Georgetown sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. made a difficult transition layup with 9.5 seconds left in the second overtime to steal a potential upset away from UConn and give the No. 7 Hoyas a 79-78 victory on Wednesday night.
“These losses are the toughest because you fight so hard to win the game,” sophomore Ryan Boatright said after the loss. “You give it your all, but you fall short.”
UConn (19-8 overall, 9-6 in Big East) head coach Kevin Ollie lauded Georgetown (22-4, 12-3) after the loss for its strong defense on the final play of the game.
Boatright had a chance to win the game at the end of the second extra period, but he wasn’t able to convert a contested three from the right corner as the buzzer sounded.
“You try and push it and get to the rim,” Ollie said. “They played good defense. They bottled him up in the corner and he just had to [take the shot].”
The win marks Georgetown’s 10th straight victory. This was also the Hoyas’ first-ever win at Gampel in four attempts.
Sophomore forward DeAndre Daniels notched the Huskies’ first double-double of the season, scoring 25 points (8-15 FG, 3-4 3FG, 6-6 FT) and grabbing 10 rebounds while effectively defending Porter for a majority of the game. Daniels also added three blocks and an assist in the defeat.
After winning the tip to start the second overtime, Daniels sunk a three from the left corner over the outstretched arm of Porter to put UConn up 72-69. Georgetown junior forward Nate Lubick made a hook shot in the post to cut Georgetown’s deficit to one, but junior guard Shabazz Napier swished a three from the wing on UConn’s next possession to extend the lead to four. Giffey was fouled on each of the Huskies’ next two possessions, and he made three of four from the line to give the Huskies at 78-71 lead with 2:03 left on the clock.
However, UConn gave up back-to-back threes to Porter and freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera on consecutive possessions and let Georgetown within one point with 49 seconds left.
“We just didn’t take away the threes when we were up seven,” Ollie bemoaned after the game.
Smith-Rivera stripped Napier on the Huskies’ penultimate possession, and Porter, who finished the game with 22 points (7-12 FG, 3-4 3FG, 5-7 FT) after a dismal one-point first half, was able to take advantage of UConn’s scrambling defense to win the game for the Hoyas.
“[Otto] makes winning plays,” Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said after the game. “Coming down at the end, it was ‘let’s get a stop and then let’s get it to Otto and go.’”
It was an incredible feat for the Huskies to even send the game into overtime. Georgetown was 8-for-9 from behind the arc at one point in the second half and had a 60-48 lead with 4:36 left in regulation. The Huskies chipped away and trimmed the lead to three, when freshman guard Omar Calhoun put back an errant Napier shot with 0:08 left on the clock.
UConn fouled junior guard Markel Starks, who finished with 19 points (7-17 FG, 4-10 3FG, 1-2 FT). Starks, a 76 percent free throw shooter on the season, missed the front-end of a one-and-one. Napier corralled the rebound and flung an outlet pass out to Boatright, who was sitting at half-court. Boatright found Calhoun on the left wing while Georgetown struggled to pick up UConn in transition. Calhoun drilled the three over Lubick’s extended left hand to knot the game up at 62 with 2.2 seconds remaining.